Ford Is Built Tough – the Rest Aren’t

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It has been a long time coming, but finally an automaker has figured out how to grow in the current economy and shut up those who have been calling for the death of the auto industry. One of my favorite companies for 2011, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F ), has had a couple of really strong quarters, introduced three future electric and hybrid cars this week, and said it is hiring more than 7,000 new employees here in the United States over the coming two years.

For smart investors looking for the best stock picks , this is the time to pounce. All of these news announcements are creating the excitement and buying pressure that make F a compelling buy, especially when you stack the stock up against some of the other auto companies.

First of all, there aren't many choices for investors looking for buying opportunities in the automotive industry. You've pretty much got Ford, Honda Motor Co. (NYSE: HMC ), General Motors (NYSE: GM ) and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM ) to choose from, and let's just say they haven't been able to pull it off like Ford has.

General Motors just got its stock relisted in November. Since then, shares are up about 13%, more than three times the 4% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the same period. But while shares have appreciated some over that time, the company hasn't reported earnings yet, and it's just too soon to tell if this is going to be a viable investment.

For instance, when December auto sales were released just last week, General Motors' sales rose 7.5% over the same period last year; however, that was in a month when overall auto sales were up 11%. On the other hand, the annualized rate of auto sales is picking up, and it could be a big year for GM if the company can get it in gear. In short, watch and wait on GM for now.

Moving on, Toyota has kept its shares trading throughout the recession, but with the recalls and safety issues this company went through in the last year, investors are very skittish with this stock and will sell out at the first sign of trouble. This is not what you want from a stock, so I would advise avoiding this one for now, too.

Then there's Honda. I would put HMC as a very distant second to F when it comes to buying in the automotive sector of the market. Honda has largely avoided negative headlines throughout the recovery, but I'm concerned about the company's ability to report strong earnings and keep operating margins moving in the right direction. HMC is, at best, a hold at the current time.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: F

Louis Navellier

Louis Navellier

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